News article

UNIT4 to appoint new CEO and change its governance structure


03 June 2013

Sliedrecht, the Netherlands, 3 June 2013: UNIT4, the global leader in software that supports business change, today announces its intention for Chris Ouwinga, the Group’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), to step down on January 1, 2014 as CEO and be replaced by José Duarte, former Global President Services and Corporate Officer for software company SAP A.G.   

UNIT4 also intends to change its governance structure to form a single-tier board, with Chris Ouwinga taking the position of non-executive director and Chairman.

José Duarte, 45, developed most of his professional career at SAP. He has held multiple leadership roles, the most relevant being as President of the EMEA & India region as well as President of the Latin America region. Most recently he served as President Global Services and Corporate officer of SAP A.G. His international experience spans software and services, large enterprise and SME, high value and volume businesses. He started his career at Unilever in Portugal, moving at a later stage to Andersen Consulting.

To ensure continuity in policy and culture, as well as a smooth transition, José Duarte will act as joint CEO alongside Chris Ouwinga until January 1, 2014. The statutory management board will after shareholder approval comprise the two joint CEOs plus Edwin van Leeuwen, the CFO. During this transition period, Chris Ouwinga will work with José Duarte to advise him on all aspects of UNIT4's global operations, before moving to his new role. As Chairman, Chris Ouwinga will focus on strategy, coaching and external relations. He will remain a shareholder and has no intention to change this position. It is envisaged that José Duarte will invest in UNIT4 stock as part of the LTI (long-term incentive) scheme for members of the Managing Board.

New governance structure
The proposed change in governance structure would see the company move at January 1, 2014 from a two-tier to a single-tier board. This single-tier board structure, with strict division of tasks between executive and non-executive board members, is a model more commonly used globally. UNIT4 has ambitious plans to further grow internationally and will actively engage Chris Ouwinga in specific areas on an on-going basis, so the Group feels that this board model will best enable it to meet its objectives. 

Philip Houben, current Chairman of the Supervisory Board, will become the senior independent non-executive director in the single-tier board. The other members of the Supervisory Board will maintain their supervisory roles, so that the future statutory board will consist of Philip Houben, Rob Ruijter, Frank Rövekamp, Nikki Beckett and Chris Ouwinga as non-executive directors and José Duarte and Edwin van Leeuwen as executive directors.

Chris Ouwinga, current CEO for UNIT4, commented: "At UNIT4 we value continuity and reliability in all we do. We have translated this emphasis on continuity in the newly proposed governance structure. After being with the company from day one, I became convinced we needed to bring additional talent, experience and energy to the management team to support and drive our growth globally and realize the exciting opportunities we see ahead. At the same time we don't want to lose the values and stability that have brought the company to its current strong position. My continued involvement will help to accomplish both goals and bring the company forward."

“José Duarte has many years of experience in the international commercial software sector and combines this with both strong entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding commercial and sales skills. It is our belief that José will play a pivotal role in helping us to expand, enhance and promote further our successful solution and services strategy and help us reach into new markets and territories.”

José Duarte, new joint CEO of UNIT4, said: “This is a great time to be joining UNIT4. The company is strongly positioned to exploit the fast-growing demand for cloud-based business solutions, and has great opportunities to further grow in its key sectors worldwide. Like UNIT4 I embrace change enthusiastically and I look forward to applying my experience and energy to this exciting opportunity.”

An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is planned to be held in September of this year. In this meeting shareholders will be requested to appoint José Duarte as statutory board member of UNIT4 N.V. Until then, he will be a non-statutory member of UNIT4's Management Board.  At the EGM the shareholders will also be asked to resolve to amend the articles of association implementing the new governance structure of UNIT4 and approve the appointment of Chris Ouwinga as future non-executive director.


Photography - Print / web-ready photographs of José Duarte are available here: and 

For further information, please contact:

Chris Ouwinga CEO or Edwin van Leeuwen CFO
Phone  : +31 (0)184 444444
Fax      : +31 (0)184 444463
E-mail  : or


David Turner, Group Marketing Director
Phone : +44 7775 720191

About UNIT4 –
UNIT4 is a global cloud-focused business software company aimed at helping dynamic public sector and commercial services organizations to embrace change simply, quickly and cost effectively in a market sector it calls 'Businesses Living IN Change' (BLINC)™. The Group incorporates a number of the world’s leading change embracing software brands including Agresso, our flagship ERP suite for mid-sized services intensive organizations; Coda, our best-of-class financial management software; and, the cloud applications company formed with investment from

With operations in 26 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Africa and sales activities in several other countries, its revenue was €469.8 million in 2012.

UNIT4 is headquartered in Sliedrecht, the Netherlands and has over 4,300 employees. It is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and is included in the Amsterdam Midcap Index (AMX). For more information on UNIT4 or any of its operating companies, please visit the website at, follow us on Twitter @UNIT4_Group or join us on Facebook at

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